AUGUSTA, Maine (8/17/09)--Maine credit unions are thriving as evidenced by reported increases in membership, deposits and loan approvals, said the Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN) in a radio segment originally aired Thursday. Membership in Maine’s 67 credit unions has grown slightly more than 1% in the past six months. In the past year, there has been a 4% increase in loans issued and an 8% rise in deposits, MPBN said. The statistics indicate that consumers in the state like the fact that credit unions are member owned and don’t get involved with risky investments, John Murphy, president of the Maine Credit Union League, told MPBN. “If you think back to last fall, people were concerned about the safety and soundness of their funds and their financial institution, and credit unions provide the latest financial service for consumers--there are many locations through the shared branch network,” Murphy said. “So credit unions become a real viable, good option.” In many cases, credit unions offer the best interest rates, Gerard Cassidy, a director at RBC Capital Markets in Portland, Maine, told MPBN. “Credit unions tend to pay a little better interest rate than a commercial bank or a savings bank because most credit unions are not-for-profit and they’re able to offer a more attractive deposit yield than a commercial bank that may be publicly traded or owned by a publicly traded company,” he added. Also, credit unions now are easier to join than in the past when they were exclusively for smaller groups of employees of companies, universities and other organizations, Cassidy told MPBN.